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Hong Kong Med J. 2018 Oct;24(5):512-520. doi: 10.12809/hkmj187470.

Measles: a disease often forgotten but not gone.

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Department of Pediatrics, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.
Department of Pediatrics, Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Department of Pediatrics and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Measles (rubeola) is a highly contagious vaccine-preventable disease caused by the measles virus-a virus of the Paramyxoviridae family. The illness typically begins with fever, runny nose, cough, and pathognomonic enanthem (Koplik spots) followed by a characteristic erythematous, maculopapular rash. The rash classically begins on the face and becomes more confluent as it spreads cephalocaudally. Laboratory confirmation of measles virus infection can be based on a positive serological test for measles-specific immunoglobulin M antibody, a four-fold or greater increase in measles-specific immunoglobulin G between acute and convalescent sera, isolation of measles virus in culture, or detection of measles virus ribonucleic acid by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Complications occur in 10% to 40% of patients, and treatment is mainly symptomatic. Bacterial superinfections, if present, should be properly treated with antibiotics. To eradicate measles, universal childhood immunisation and vaccination of all susceptible individuals with measles vaccine would be ideal. In developed countries, routine immunisation with measles-containing vaccine is recommended, with the first and second doses at ages 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years, respectively. The World Health Organization recommends that the first and second doses of measles-containing vaccine be given at ages 9 months and 15 to 18 months, respectively, in countries with high rates of measles transmission.


Asia; Disease outbreaks; Encephalitis; Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine; Pneumonia; Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis

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